Anti-Racism Working Group

We Stand for Racial Justice

“Justice, justice you shall pursue…”

Building on our Jewish commitments to social justice and solidarity with other historically subordinated groups, Beth El’s Antiracism Working Group mobilizes clergy, staff, leadership and congregants to move toward becoming antiracist individuals and an antiracist congregation.

What we do:

  • We challenge practices, policies, programs and norms that reinforce white Ashkenazi dominance at Beth El.
  • We advocate for a congregation-wide culture of inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging.
  • We create opportunities for the Beth El community to learn about racism, antiracism, white supremacy, and the experiences of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, including those who are Jewish.
  • We advocate for Beth El members to move from learning to antiracist action.
  • In partnership with other organizations and faith communities, we organize and participate in actions aimed at achieving racial equity and justice in and outside our congregation.
Beth El Board of Directors Antiracism Resolution (adopted in January 2022)

Past events

  • “Sharing my Experience as the Rabbi of Brunswick, Ga., Home of Ahmaud Arbery” with Rabbi Rachael Bregman
  • “The Ongoing Journey: Rectifying Institutional Racism in the Arts” with Janie Cohen (Director, Fleming Museum of Art)
  • “Bending the Criminal (In)justice System Toward Justice” panel discussion featuring Stacey Borden, founder and Executive Director of New Beginnings Re-Entry Services in Roxbury; Latanya Henderson, founder and Executive Director of All Things Art in Roxbury; State Rep. Carmine Gentile and State Sen. Jamie Eldridge
  • Workshops for clergy, staff and board on becoming an antiracist congregation
  • Bystander intervention training workshop
  • Participation in the Reform Jewish Movement’s inaugural Racial Justice Initiative

Click here for more details on our work in 2021.

Learn with Us!

The Beth El Antiracism Learning Group meets monthly. Participants collectively choose fiction and nonfiction books, documentaries and films, plays and more. Discussions are lively and all are welcome. For more information, email the Antiracism Working Group.

Resources

See our resources page for definitions, useful links and book lists (both general, and titles being discussed by the Beth El Antiracism Working Group).


Antiracism profile: Elaine Barnartt-Goldstein

Supporting New Beginnings Re-entry Services for formerly incarcerated women

The grand opening of the Women Empowerment House in Dorchester on April 19, 2022. Left to right: Beth El members Martin Brauer, Elaine Barnartt-Goldstein, Judy Goldberg and Karen Blumenfeld, with State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (click for larger view).

After learning that many women are incarcerated for offenses secondary to their own abuse, and they experience injustice in court as well as in prison, Elaine Barnartt-Goldstein led a collection of home goods and financial contributions from Beth El members to support New Beginnings Re-entry Services Women Empowerment House in Dorchester. Women Empowerment House, a project of New Beginnings Re-Entry Services, is a residential program that helps formerly incarcerated, unhoused, and predominantly Black women navigate the overwhelming complexities of reentering society after their release from prison. Each woman is expected to stay a year to 18 months, the median amount of time for women’s recidivism, which the program is designed to prevent.

Beth El member Elaine Barnartt-Goldstein and Women Empowerment House director Stacey Borden in front of the Women Empowerment House (click for larger view).

Women Empowerment House is the brainchild of Stacey Borden, a formerly incarcerated Black woman who earned a master’s in social work with a concentration in addiction studies. Thanks to Stacey’s vision and leadership, Women Empowerment House offers peer support, programs in money management, educational assistance, addiction rehabilitation, and other re-entry services, as well as room and board. Elaine and the Beth El donors were proud to support Stacey’s extraordinary work, which reached its fulfillment with a grand opening of the House on April 19, 2022.

Your donation to Women Empowerment House helps post-incarcerated women rebuild their families and their lives. Click here to donate.